22 November 2013
Deep-sea fishing : No threat to employment, an opportunity even
22 November 2013
A press release by BLOOM and OCEANA
Short of arguments, the industrial conglomerates involved in deep-sea fishing, lead by Intermarché, use more than ever the supposed threat of employment to divert the public debate from what is essential: the economic absurdity and disastrous ecological impact od deep-sea trawl fisheries and their likely impending ban by the European Parliament , in a vote on December 10, 2013.
The estimate of jobs concerned by deep-sea fishing put forward by the industry and the elected officials of Lorient has seen a dramatic inflation in recent years. At the time of the Grenelle de la Mer (2009/2010), the figure of 200 direct and indirect jobs for deep-sea fishing in France was unanimous, but when the European Commission released its proposal to regulate deep-sea fishing (19 July 2012), the figure of 600 jobs for the region alone Lorient was declared. In recent days, it would finally concern 3000 jobs in Brittany alone, 15 times more than three years ago!
If deep-sea fishing in France involved 3,000 jobs, while in 2011, deep-sea species accounted for 2.3% of all French catches, it would mean that deep-sea fishing accounts for 17 % of employment in the industry! This ratio captures / jobs would mean a number of 132,337 jobs for all fisheries in France… A scenario which we all dream but one that is currently science fiction since the fisheries sector employed 18,617 people in France in 2011 (and 12 823 Full Time Equivalent).
Pénélope Bagieu, the author of the comic on deep-sea fishing that went viral, that made BLOOM’s petition against these destructive fishing practices reach from 26 000 signatures on Nov. 18 to 470,000 on Friday morning, would say “people should not be taken for a fool!”.
According to calculations by BLOOM, between 44 and 112 jobs are directly related to the activity of deep-sea fishing (catch of deep-sea species represent 25-40 % of the activity of vessels) or 0.2-0 5% of the French fishermen and 132 to 470 total jobs are induced by deep-sea species caught in France (according to the initial number used and the multiplier).
The comms operation of Intermarché and elected officials in Lorient focuses on the principle that the European Commission proposes to ban ALL deep-sea fisheries, while on the contrary it is explicitly stated that public funds would be available for conversion to other fishing gear, such as longlines, which would lead to job creation.
“If fleets were willing to convert to longlining, as the Commission proposes, they would opt for a fishing gear that generates six times more jobs than bottom trawling” insisted Javier Lopez from the NGO Oceana, referring to a study by the New Economics Foundation, released on November 19, 2013.
“Fleets do not wish to convert longline because they do not want to create jobs that would necessarily lead to an increase in payroll and expenses. An industrial fishery protective of employment and worrying about men and the sea, is not planned for tomorrow!” concluded Claire Nouvian, founder of BLOOM Association, whose petition against deep-sea bottom trawling gathered on Friday morning more than 470 000 signatures thanks to the Penelope Bagieu’s comic strip that went viral.
How did the industry make up the figures they put forward ?
 Namely 10 215 tonnes of species listed at Annexes I & II of the regulation in place EC N°2347/2002 compared to 450 608 tonnes of fish caught in 2011 (FAO 2011 data).
 European Commission, The 2011 Annual Economic Report on the EU Fishing Fleet, (STECF-11-16).
 The bracket is between taking into account the whole crew of the vessels (112 FTE) or a figure based on the percentage of deep-sea catches (44 FTE).
 See : Chiffres clef du secteur de la pêche 2012 – http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/Chiffres_cle_peche.pdf
 The multipliers used here are contained between: 1 job at sea creating 2 jobs on land and 1 job at sea creating 3,2 jobs on land : this is recognized by fisheries economists as a high value for industrial vessels in industrialized countries.